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Sports Council grants survive Khan targets 'next level' against Floyd Ward leading medal surge in Azerbaijan Irish trio on record

ATHLETICS: Ireland's elite sports stars and 2012 Olympic hopefuls got a badly-needed pre-Christmas boost yesterday when the Irish Sports Council (ISC) revealed that there will be no cuts to their individual grants for 2011.

The three existing levels of grants are to be maintained for the coming year, which is particularly good news considering that the London Olympics are now less than two years away.

The scheme gave out over €2.6m to 110 athletes in 20 different sports last year.

Khan targets 'next level' against Floyd

BOXING: Amir Khan has his sights set on a super-fight against Floyd Mayweather in 2012 as he continues to win over American audiences.

WBA light-welterweight champion Khan, who beat Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas last weekend, said: "If I want to fight the likes of Mayweather and other big names out there then I have to beat the Maidanas and other people.

"These are the fights that are going to take me to the next level and the next level now for me is the elite level, the likes of Mayweather."

Ward leading medal surge in Azerbaijan

BOXING: Ireland's young guns will be taking home at least four bronze and one silver medals from the 20-Nation Abbas Agalarov Youth Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan.

World Youth champ Joe Ward guaranteed himself at least silver after he beat Russian light-heavyweight Vladimir Korshunov 2-1 in yesterday's 81kg semi-final.

Irish trio on record

cycling: Jennifer O'Reilly, Ciara Horne and Caroline Ryan broke their national record by over five seconds in the Women's Team Pursuit at the World Cup in Colombia.

They covered the 3,000 metres in three minutes 31.708 seconds and also finished fifth European team to earn vital qualifying points for the London Olympics.

CRICKET: Hashim Amla and Jaques Kallis hit majestic centuries as South Africa heaped misery on hapless India bowlers to reach 366 for two on day two of the opening Test in Centurion.

NBA: Indiana 108 Cleveland 99, NY Knicks 91 Miami 113, Philadelphia 81 LA Lakers 93, Toronto 98 New Jersey 92, Atlanta 90 Charlotte 85, Detroit 88 LA Clippers 109, New Orleans 100 Utah 71, Oklahoma City 102 Sacramento 87, Houston 103 Memphis 87, Dallas 106 Phoenix 91, Portland 107 Minnesota 102.